Olympus plans to establish a series of digital excellence centers (DECs) as the company looks to follow its new strategy of harnessing digital technologies in disease states such as gastroenterology.

In December 2022, Olympus agreed to buy Odin Vision – a London, UK-based cloud-AI endoscopy start-up – for an upfront cost of $79m. With the transaction, Olympus acquired a portfolio of commercially available computer-aided detection software and a pipeline of cloud-enabled applications.

The acquisition aligned with Olympus’ new strategy of expanding into digital health. “It brings the promise of AI-powered real-time diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of chronic diseases closer to reality,” Olympus said in a statement. The company plans to harness medical data and use AI algorithms to assist healthcare professionals with timely information as it aims to expand its digital health capabilities.

Olympus says it plans to establish a series of DECs to facilitate its digital expansion strategy. London will be a first location, leveraging Odin Vision’s already-established framework. Further sites are planned to be located at current Olympus research and development sites in Hamburg, Boston, and Tokyo. The company also says it will consider expanding to Silicon and Tel Aviv in the future.

“As Olympus looks to expand development capabilities in digital solutions, establishing DECs around the globe will allow us to access critical talent and to develop partnerships with start-ups and other companies who, like Odin Vision, are pushing the envelope of creative innovation,” said Karsten Klose, Global Head of Digital at Olympus.

The news comes a few months after a turbulent March for Olympus. In the first week of March 2023, it acquired GI stent manufacturer Taewoong Medical for $370m to join the biliary stent sector. Two weeks later, however, Olympus received a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration regarding poor manufacturing practices for its endoscopy devices.

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